October 24, 2013
Student Success Takes Center Stage at 2013 Student Academic Conference
Hosted by the college’s Harry Van Arsdale Jr. Center for Labor Studies in New York City
President Merodie Hancock is joined by Francesca Chichello, of the college’s International Programs, far left, and Petr Rieger and Michaela Matejekova, from the college’s program in Prague.
(SARATOGA SPRINGS – Oct. 25, 2013) Students representing SUNY Empire State College’s 35 locations in New York, the states of South Dakota, Virginia and Illinois and the college’s international program in Prague, the Czech Republic, engaged with faculty, alumni and staff at the ninth annual Student Academic Conference.
“The Student Academic Conference is one of the many ways the college creates a sense of community for its students, who are deeply engaged in their studies with the faculty, but are often geographically distant from each other,” said Merodie A. Hancock, president of the college. “Students come to Empire State College looking to improve their lives through education. The ability to design a specific degree program and to work closely with a faculty mentor, combined with the opportunity to engage with other students and the flexibility of learning in multiple modes, makes Empire State College the best option for many people with family, job and community commitments.”
Jason Torreano ’13, presents on Inkululeko, a nonprofit organization he founded. Located in Grahamstown, South Africa, Inkululeko helps young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to improve on areas of academic deficiency.
“I wanted to make a change and I had a dream, but I didn't have a whole lot of skills to make that dream happen,” said Jason Torreano ’13, a Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence recipient. “Empire State College gave me the skills I needed to turn a dream into an active, vibrant organization.”
Torreano is the founder Inkululeko, a nonprofit organization located in Grahamstown, South Africa, which helps young people from disadvantaged backgrounds improve on areas of academic deficiency.
In his presentation at the conference, Torreano discussed how what he learned at the college helped him to create and launch this organization and to overcome the many challenges he encountered. He also talked about the rewards of the process and how people can use their Empire State College degree program to move closer to their own dreams.
Held for the first time in New York City and hosted by the college’s Harry Van Arsdale Jr. Center for Labor Studies, more than 250 members of the college community attended the conference, a new record level of attendance.
Lori Mould, a student at the Genesee Valley Center, checks her notes right before her presentation on “Ecological/Environmental Effects From Hurricane Sandy.”
Graduate and undergraduate students presented their research and other academic projects in areas such as the arts, biology and the humanities. Specific topics included: “Hierarchy Establishment, Persistence and Group Learning in Long-Finned Zebrafish,” “Autism and the Gluten-Free, Casein-Free Diet,” “Ecological/Environmental Effects From Hurricane Sandy,” “The Effects of Gender Bias in Childhood,” “Working With Special Needs Students in the Classroom,” and many others.
The college provided presentations on its Health and Wellness Initiative, using life experience to earn college credit, developing job search strategies, financial aid and coping with stress.
In addition to the annual Student Academic Conference and the Student Art Competition, the college’s Office of Student Services supports student health and wellness, The Student Connection, the college’s student-run newsletter, participation in student clubs and the formation of new clubs and many other forms of student engagement.
Immediately after the conference concluded, more than 20 students from the college participated in the ongoing clean up resulting from Hurricane Sandy. Organized by the students themselves, they traveled to Staten Island to work with Episcopal Diocese of New York Disaster Response efforts.
SUNY Empire State College was established in 1971 to offer adult learners the opportunity to earn associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the State University of New York.
In addition to awarding credit for prior college-level learning, the college pairs each student with a faculty mentor who supports that student throughout his or her college career. Students engage in guided independent study and course work onsite, online or a combination of both, which provides the flexibility for students to learn at the time, place and pace they choose.
The college serves more than 20,000 students worldwide at more than 35 locations in the state of New York and online. Its 70,000 alumni are active in their communities as entrepreneurs, politicians, business professionals, artists, nonprofit agency employees, teachers, veterans and active military, union members and more. More information about the college is available here.
Media contact: David Henahan, director of communications
518-587-2100, ext. 2918
518-321-7038 (after hours and on weekends)